Friday, 9 December 2011

The power of Internet in Blindness programs

When Vicki Mak, a doctor from New Zealand contacted me a few months ago enquiring about accommodation in Blantyre (as she had intended to spend time at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital), honestly I did not pay much attention to her request. Why would anyone have done so anyway, especially that she was going to be in Malawi for general medicine and not even intending to visit my eye department?

Well she must have been in Malawi for closer to eight weeks without my knowledge when I bumped into her at College of Medicine Computer Library: and I don’t remember exactly how it started; but when she mentioned New Zealand I asked her i she was the one who contacted me by email. Of-course she denied at first (she didn’t even remember emailing me), but after reminding her what it was all about, she went into her inbox and indeed found out that we had communicated.

She then asked what i was doing: and as usual I took the opportunity to explain to her about blindness in children and what little is being done in the community to help such children and how people like her may end up helping the programme in Malawi. After watching a video of what Blantyre Institute for community OphthalmologyBICO in Malawi is doing in creating community solutions that will ensure that blind and visual impaired children access sight restoration surgery at an earlier stage, she was hooked to the programme and couldn’t stop thinking about it.

We met several times in my department and discussed about how she could help, and we agreed that she should go and visit a blind school in Ntcheu (big mistake!!!!!).Whe she came back she could not stop thinking about the boys and girls in the blind school, and what she could do to help them. She immediately donated support items directly to the school (worth $2000); and also contacted her parents in Auckland Newzeland who also agreed to donate another $2000.As I write now, Nsialudzu blind school in Nthcheu has new mattresses and a few other things, thanks to VICKI.

We agreed that we should discuss more about how the children can be screened and provided with learning materials and glasses.Where do we meet: Hongkong restraurant in Blantyre and also in Hongkong, China where she was travelling to.

So far we have met in Blantyre and China and good progress has been made.

My hope is that the people in Nthcheu will realise that it is BICO’s effort that have resulted in improvements o their blind school.

Together we can do more.

A big thank you to Dr VICKI: a young girl with a passion to help the less preveleged.

In the picture Vicki:also a blind child from a blind school.

Are you impressed with what internet can do? are you using internet to your benefit or for the benefit of the nation?

Do you want to donate to BICO?

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